It is more than great to hear about symbolic steps, such as the recent Amnesty International Award for Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future Movement. But does this make us thoughtful? I mean, really thoughtful?
When we talk about climate issues, we should demand the best possible technologies and processes in all aspects of our lives – agriculture, energy, industry, transportation, etc. What is more, we should not put these demands on people working and making decisions in these sectors only. We also need to make change ourselves.
All kinds of industries are needed to keep society running. However, today’s consumers can choose products from known sources or those, whose use creates the biggest energy efficiency results, potentially with a local or at least a fair trade origin.
The same goes for our food. Even the sparrows on the roof seem to squeal about buying locally, and an increasing number of people does so indeed. However, car parks in front of shopping centres are as full as before. Besides, even more new shopping centres are being built as I write. This is how our society is run, but then again, we can at least choose our groceries as concerned and eco-aware consumers – and food suppliers will also have to adapt to our needs.
When it comes to transportation, in such countries as Slovenia, which have a pretty good motorway system but a fairly poor public transportation, a great problem is the average of having almost one car per person. Not long time ago, a car was even a status symbol. Times are changing. Fortunately, mentalities, too. Nowadays, startups are popping up and offering car-sharing services, even electric ones. But is the electricity used by these new vehicles free of fossil fuel? Do we know, if their energy comes from a solar, wind, hydro or nuclear power plant? Do we care, how and where the battery for this particular e-car was produced, and how it will be disposed?
Do we ask ourselves, where the energy to our homes comes from? Do we take the resources for granted, or do we use them with respect? Do we care, how our garbage is managed? Or how much food is wasted, while in some parts of the world, people still do not have much on their plates?
New solutions and technologies are not bad per se. And frankly, no technology comes without an ecological footprint. However, we should not behave like we are the last generation walking on our planet’s surface. We need to be smart enough to keep the planet running as it should. And to preserve it for new Gretas. I just wonder, whether we are ready to do anything different to what we are used to in order to make our environmental footprint smaller?
Perhaps, when we start thinking about our each and everybody’s footprints, we will not even need to give climate awards or read opinion pieces as this one. We will just become a “sustainable society”. Fortunately, we not only have brains to do so but also conditions, such as living, at least in Europe, in the most peaceful period in human’s history and having at our disposal the largest financial resources ever. Those who disagree are invited to read Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.
Even though there is no “climate shadowless” technology, we still can become a sustainable society. So, should we start being thoughtful?
Alenka Lena Klopčič
Director & Editor of Energetika.NET, the leading energy portal in Slovenia and South East Europe. Director of the Blue World for Youth Organisation (Modri svet za mlade) in Slovenia.
Alenka has a Bachelor’s degree in Economy and Master’s degree in Business, and she has also finished postgraduate studies at the Faculty of State and European Studies. She joined the editorial board of Energetika.NET as a journalist in 2004 and became editor in mid 2007. In 2010, when Energetika.NET changed its status from a business unit to an independent company, Alenka took over as director. She is interested in the traditional energy sector as well as new energy technologies.